An entire community under one roof? Coronavirus?

An article from NPR brings up Whitter, Alaska, an extremely small town on the west side of the Prince William Sound. Positioned in an aesthetically pleasing location in the valley of two mountains. However, there are no tiny houses huddled together or lining the streets, but rather a 14-story tall building that looks like a mediocrely maintained hotel called Begich Towers.

The former army barracks are where the majority of the 200 Whitter residents call home. 

Walking along the hallways of the entrance, the building gives a high-school-esque feeling with colorful bulletin boards on top of yellow-painted cinder blocks. 

In a remote area of Alaska, Whitter sees some of the most brutal weather with winds that often top 60 mph. This is why the residents of Begich Towers have everything they need under one roof. There’s a laundromat, convenience store, health clinic, school, and even a church in the basement. 

I found this article extremely interesting as Whitter is obviously an extremely small town with not much more than 200 residents, but also how people are comfortable living their entire lives essentially in one building. 

I decided to write about this article now because, amidst the coronavirus pandemic that we’re now in, we have ways to socially distance ourselves. In the greater Philadelphia area, we have access to some of the best medical professionals on earth- but what would happen to the residents of Begich Towers if the COVID-19 reached their remote town? What about all the Americans- all the people in the world without access to the medicine we have, or even funds to be able to stock-up during potential quarantining. Let us use this article as a reminder to be thankful for what we have.


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